Blasphemy

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University of Pennsylvania Press, Jul 1, 1993 - Religion - 242 pages
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From Jesus Christ to Salman Rushdie, from Moses to Freud, blasphemy has been a force in producing many forms of Western cultural identity. Blasphemy continues to influence our relations with other cultures, yet it is not so much an idea as a shifting rhetorical figure. It stands for whatever we deplore: we define the truths we uphold in terms of the blasphemies we attack.

"Blasphemy is an orthodoxy's way of demonizing difference," writes Lawton. In this provocative book, the author tracks the history of blasphemy from the trial of Christ through the fatwa imposed on Salman Rushdie. He concludes that blasphemy is far from an antique concept, but a living, dangerous rhetoric that still defines the boundaries of popular culture.

 

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Contents

Christians and Their Enemies
43
The Later Middle Ages to 1600
84
The Seventeenth Century to the Present
110
Freud and the WolfMan
144
Rushdie and the World of Wrestling
177
Conclusion
202
Bibliography
210
Index
227
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About the author (1993)

David Lawton is Professor of English at the University of Tasmania.

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